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$32M Capital Campaign; $26M Already Raised

Largest fundraising campaign to date
December 2011

COA studentsRead Bangor Daily News article

College of the Atlantic has mounted a $32 million capital campaign, the largest drive to date of this 40-year-old college. Already, the campaign has raised more than $26 million. Trustees Bill Foulke and Tony Robinson are co-chairing the effort.

The goal of the campaign says Foulke, who serves as Chairman of COA's Board of Trustees, is to enhance the college's core strengths, increasing opportunities for both students and faculty. "Unlike many campaigns which focus on buildings and sports facilities, COA's Life Changing World Changing campaign supports the growth of the academic program and keeps tuition affordable," he says.

"We have been astounded by the enthusiasm and generosity this campaign has unleashed," adds COA President Darron Collins, a 1992 alumnus. "We have had historic gifts from alumni, friends and trustees. Such an early success - before even announcing the campaign - proves that COA's hands-on, experiential, interdisciplinary approach is becoming increasingly recognized as the essential approach necessary to enable students to take on the complicated challenges of our evolving world."

Josslyn Richardson in Catherine Clinger's drawing class photo by Julia De SantisIn the months leading up to the campaign's announcement, COA has raised nearly $10 million toward a $12 million scholarship goal, enabling COA to continue its generosity to students from Maine to Mumbai. More than 85 percent of COA students are on scholarship.

Says campaign co-chair Robinson, "COA is committed to making its education affordable. We are doing our best to ensure that financial limitations do not create a barrier to those students who clearly should be enrolled.

"While the success of our fund-raising to date has been very gratifying, and has demonstrated the high esteem in which the college is held by its neighbors and constituencies, we have now entered the most difficult phase of the campaign - the completion phase - which requires more diligence than ever to get the job done.  I know we can depend on the College's stakeholders to muster the effort needed to get us there."

Included within the scholarship goal is a $6 million commitment from Shelby and Gale Davis for the Davis United World College Scholars program, which has brought exceptional students from around the world to study at COA. Another generous scholarship fund from the Partridge Foundation focuses on students from rural New England interested in agriculture.

The campaign has already created five faculty chairs: The Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts, The Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, The David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, The Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities, and The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences. "Given COA's interdisciplinary approach, each addition impacts the entire college, offering the possibility of new, transdisciplinary classes and perspectives," says Collins.

students on wallThe hands-on, experiential approach pioneered by COA means that students work on real-world problems while they are still in college. To do this well, off-campus experience is often essential. To this end, a portion of the campaign is devoted to a travel and research fund for faculty and students. In support of this goal, philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis funded the Kathryn W. Davis Global Engagement Fund towards Peace with a challenge grant.

Additional opportunities for students will be created by the M/V Osprey, built to COA specifications by Wesmac Marine in Surry, Maine, thanks to a bequest from the late Edward McC. Blair, former board chair. The new vessel, which has just passed its first sea trials, will enable the college to extend its marine season into the spring and fall, increasing research and enhancing the academic program. A final enhancement for COA's academic program is its technological landscape, upgrading the infrastructure and developing state-of-the-art technology in all classrooms.

For more information about the COA Life Changing, World Changing campaign, or to make a contribution, call 207-801-5620 or visit

College of the Atlantic is a small, experimental college on the coast of Maine founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning - human ecology - that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world.

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